What are the best umbrellas to use outdoors?
Want to enjoy outdoor space during the hottest, sunniest days of summer? An outdoor umbrella provides shade for your patio or garden, ideal for cooling off and staying safe from the sun. The best outdoor umbrellas combine durable fabric and frames with an easy setup. Outdoor umbrellas can also add personal style to your space.
What are outdoor umbrellas?
Outdoor umbrellas are sometimes called patio umbrellas, although they can be used on almost any level outdoor surface. They can be freestanding with a base, extendable cantilever umbrellas or incorporated into patio furniture. Shade comes from a fabric canopy supported by metal or wooden ribs to maintain its shape. These ribs are lowered to sit flush against a metal or wooden pole when not in use.
Types of outdoor umbrellas
This type of outdoor umbrella extends vertically and opens into a square, rectangular, or circular canopy. Market umbrellas can often fit into a table, extending through a hole built into the middle. They require a base, which must often be purchased separately.
These are offset, with a base on the side of the shaded space when they are opened and extended fully. The canopy lifts and opens using a slide that goes up and down on the pole. They can also tilt, and may swivel to provide shade as the sun moves throughout the day.
For extra-large spaces, you can look for a cantilever umbrella with a large weighted base or a market umbrella with multiple supports and ribs. With all styles, make sure the pole and base can support the extra weight of the canopy when it is open.
What to look for in an outdoor umbrella
Because it is used outdoors, look for an umbrella that uses weather-resistant fabric for the canopy. These can be treated to reduce fading or provide a water-resistant barrier. Mold-resistant fabrics reduce the chance of mold growth when the umbrella is folded. Neutral colors, including tan and brown, provide versatility and complement many decor styles. Vibrant colors add an element of style and personality to your outdoor space.
Pole and frame
The canopy ribs and frame are often made of rust-resistant metals, such as aluminum. They can be painted or powder-coated for a different finish while still maintaining durability. Wood is another popular choice, although make sure to look for one that’s weatherproof. The base of some outdoor umbrellas can be made of heavy-duty plastic, especially those designed to be filled with sand or water to weigh down and stabilize the umbrella.
The best outdoor umbrellas have easy-to-use hand cranks to lift them up, and push-buttons to tilt them. Cantilever umbrellas often use a sliding handle to lift the umbrella and extend it over the shaded area. They can be operated by one person.
Some umbrellas come with a base designed to support the weight of the canopy when it is open. Almost all cantilever umbrellas include a weighted base that can be filled with sand. You may need to purchase a base separately for market umbrellas.
Best outdoor umbrellas
This freestanding umbrella features an easy-to-reach hand crank to open and close with just one hand that also tilts to adjust to the sun’s angle. It comes in eight colors to match or accentuate the rest of your decor. Sold by Wayfair
Combining affordability and performance, this umbrella has a hand crank to open it and a push button to tilt it. It’s budget-friendly, although it does not include a base, which will add to the overall cost. Sold by Amazon
This offset umbrella sits on the side of the large 11-foot diameter shaded area. It comes with everything you need to set it up, including the base, fade-resistant fabric canopy, rust-resistant frame and LED lights built into the umbrella. Sold by Home Depot
The size and design work best with long, rectangular tables. The included weighted base and hand crank make putting up this heavy umbrella easy enough for one person to do. Sold by Wayfair
The blue and white stripe of this freestanding market umbrella adds a stylish touch to your shade. It also uses Sunbrella fabric, which won’t fade even after years of use and resists mold and water. Sold by Wayfair
For an extra-large outdoor umbrella, the double-sided patio umbrella is affordable and sturdy. The three connected sections are reinforced with extra ribbing for support and the included base provides necessary stabilization for this top-heavy umbrella. Sold by Amazon
It features a scalloped edge for added style that works for al fresco dining. It lifts using a hand crank and can tilt near the base of the canopy to provide shade even during the late afternoon or evening. Sold by Wayfair
With vibrant colors and decorative edging, the Karian umbrella from Safavieh adds sophisticated style to your outdoor space. Its practical design elements include a sturdy aluminum pole and a hand crank to lift and open it. Sold by Macy’s
The double-layered rectangular canopy and aluminum frame of this cantilever umbrella brings modern flair as well as plenty of shade. It rotates 360 degrees and has six tilt settings for maximum use. Sold by Amazon
While keeping you shaded from the overhead sun, it also charges built-in LED lights using solar technology. They provide ambiance as the sun goes down, accentuating one of the 12 color options and the rust-resistant steel frame. Sold by Amazon
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Katie Begley writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.
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